Here are a handful of common, and not so common, Client FAQ’s and Q&A’s, that you might have with regards to working with Smithographic, freelance logo and brand identity designer.
If you have any other questions regarding logo design, or anything else relating to logo and brand identities, that aren’t addressed on this page, then you can contact me direct.
I have been known to take on Logo Design projects that were needed in 24 hours.
Obviously this is far far far from ideal, but so long as the client has appropriate expectations, and I manage those expectations, then sometimes a little bit of magic can be made… very quickly.
More often there’s a need to complete a logo design in a week. This seems to happen more than it really should, but if my schedule allows it, then I’ll gladly take the challenge on.
However, because of the necessity to work evenings, sometimes into the early hours and maybe the weekends, then I will always charge extra for this effort.
These Logo Guidelines and Brand Identity Manuals, vary from client-to-client and project-to-project; some are just 1 page and some are upwards of 10-20 pages.
A lovely example of a recent set of Logo Guidelines is as a A2 Poster format for a repeat client of mine (previous logo project of theirs was for Excedr); you can view the Logo Guidelines Poster here: SuperblyCo Another Logo Poster for Logo Poster for Spareto, which uses the SuperblyCo format.
An example of a more detailed set of Logo & Brand Identity Guidelines was created for Kerr Recruitment.
This site is running on Wordpress, utilising a theme called Chaplin, which was developed & designed by Anders Norén.
This website only uses the standard Wordpress Blocks for the layout; no other Page Building plug-in’s are used.
The site is hosted with a Siteground Cloud Server using 4 CPU’s, 8GB Ram and 40GB SSD; caching provided by Siteground & WP-Rocket, with additional caching and security provided by a Cloudflare Pro account. More: Website Info
Over the course of the decades, i’ve build up quite a library of unused logo ideas and concepts, and have started repurposing these to be Sold as Ready Made Logo Designs for Sale.
These will cost around £250, then there are some paid extras on top of that. Head over to Logo Designs for Sale for more info
A logo design can cost anywhere from £500, and hitting the £10k + for a more comprehensive logo and brand identity design.
Historically, logo design projects have fallen within the £2000 – £5000 price range.
I have designed logos for less than £500, and for upwards of £10k, so it will usually come down to what sort of budget a client has, as well as what the logo design brief entails.
Although company logo design IS a big part of my job description; it’s far from being the only thing I do.
More often than not I’m tasked with creating the bigger and more encompassing Brand Identity along with the Logo Design.
It just so happens that the Logo Design is typically the first part of the larger Brand Identity to be developed, then the rest sort of falls into place.
So although my main portfolio is geared around showcasing all the logos I’ve designed, I’m far from a one-trick-pony.
I’ve designed far larger complete Brand Identity projects, which you can see some of them over at The Brand Gallery. There are also numerous Case Studies of individual projects that show Brand Identities as well as the Logo Design.
There are numerous ways I’ll show a logo design to a client, and much of it depends on how hands on the client has chosen to be, and also at what stage we are with the logo design project.
In some cases the logo idea I will show to my client will be quite rough, and probably in sketch format.
In other cases, I’ll have created a more polished version of the logo in Illustrator, and will show that logo to the client.
It also depends on the client on how I will present my logo design ideas, as some people are able to visualise rough sketches, whereas some people need more of a realistic mock-up to be able to see what my intentions are.
The final presentation of a company logo, to my client, is usually in the format of Logo Guidelines Poster, which you can see an example here:
Company Logo Guidelines Poster But again, the final presentation is dependant on what the client has actually asked for in relation to final deliverables and digital assets.
There’s rarely just one way I’ll show a logo to a client, and I’ll try my best to tailor it specifically in each instance.
Back in the early days (circa 2004), I was indeed trading under the name ImJustCreative, but soon after Twitter took off (circa 2006-2007), I was made aware of another logo designer going by the name of JustCreative, who was based in Australia.
This caused some confusion on Twitter, and also in terms of the URL’s and our respective blogging and social media interactions.
So after a few years of trying to just work with it, I decided to do a ‘soft’ rebrand: that simple meant changing my trading name to Smithographic, but keeping the existing imjustcreative.com domain, this also meant changing all my social media account names from, @imjustcreative to @smithographic
The reason I kept the domain was mostly due to the significant number of blog posts I had amassed in previous years, and many of these are linked to 100’s of other sites etc.
Changing domain URL from imjustcreative.com to smithographic.uk would have deleted all the Google Juice and rankings that I had painstakingly collected, which just was not something I could ever justify doing.
I sometimes use the URL smith.gl in correspondence and other instances of communications, as this URL is set-up to simply forward to the home page of imjustcreative.com.
For social media, I also use the short URL smith.co for the common practice of shortening regular long links, to short links. For example, imjustcreative.com/hire-me has a short URL of smith.gl/hire-me Also, when I share a blog post on Twitter, then the regular long URL might be https://imjustcreative.com/how-to-hire-the-logo-smith/2020/02/03 but Twitter and other social media accounts will shorten it to smith.gl/hagdyd5d
Additionally, I use this short smith.co URL for my business email.
The client that has had the biggest impact on my career as a Freelance Logo & Brand Identity Designer has been for Pure Storage Case Study.
The Logo Mark I developed for them back in 2011 its till in use today, and is being utilised in ways I’d never have imagined.
I think for many of us Freelancers, to get a client like Pure Storage is a dream away. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had this come into my life. Don’t think it will ever be topped.
Similar to How Much Does a Logo Design Cost, giving time-frames is tricky.
I like to allow about 4-6 weeks for a typical project, where the budget is around £750 – £2000. Sometimes I’ll get it done in 2 weeks, and other times it’s a challenging project, and it goes on past 6 weeks.
Sometimes I’ve thought of an idea practically overnight, and other times it’s just been a really challenging project which seems to take forever.
If the the work is a larger Brand Identity project, then this will always take much longer than just a logo design. Usually at least 2 months work for a decent size Logo and Brand Identity Project: Logo Design, Stationery Design, Brand Guidelines, Website Design etc.
It’s also highly dependant on how many times a client says, “No, I don’t like that idea.” If each idea I present is met with this, then clearly it’s going to take longer than if a client likes an idea earlier on in the project;This is somewhat out of my control.
I NEVER promise that a logo will be finished by a certain date, but I will always try my best to complete a project as soon as is feasibly possible, if it is urgent.
On occasion I’ll get asked how many people work at Smithographic; it’s just me, Graham Smith.
It’s therefore mightily important for me to clarify: all the creative work you see on Smithographic website: Logo Portfolio, Monomarks, The Gallery and Case Studies have all been designed by Graham Smith AKA Smithographic.
When you speak to me, or communicate with me in some form, be confident that it’s also me working on your project, and it’s not me passing on your brief to a part-time designer I’ve only just hired.
Rest assured that you are never ever put in a position where you end up with a Logo Design you do not like.
My process is very organic and transparent, and as such, any ideas and directions that you don’t like the look of during the exploratory phase, can be put aside early on in the process.
This isn’t to say you’ll like every single idea I present you, but the process is such that even a No from the client is a positive step forward. This simply means we have eliminated a certain direction, and can focus on another, until you are happy.
Patience and trust in my process and abilities is absolutely paramount.
Many projects can: hit snags, become a challenge, take a wrong turn, but I never give up until the client is happy.
Whilst the colour of the logo will depend greatly on a number of things, if you’re looking for a place to do some colour window shopping for your logo, then I can recommend giving my post a quick glance: 100 Beautiful Colour Swatches
This will show you some great colour combinations, and should help you get a decent feel for which direction you might want to take the logo.
Yes. I most probably could.
You mean ‘pop‘ like that?
Sometimes yes; sometimes no. Not every logo design needs, or even benefits from a structured logo design grid, let alone a complex pattern of interweaving circles, lines and guides.
However, when a logo design needs such structure, or it at least helps me create a sense of balance, then I will create a grid with circles, guides and other intersecting elements.
You can view some of the more ‘complex’ logo design grids here: Logo Design Construction Here’s one example of a past logo for TheAutoNetwork that benefited from various grids, circles, angles and intersecting guides.
I own the Copyright of all ideas shown to a client, until such time the client approves a final design, then pays the last Invoice.
When the client pays the last invoice I initiate a Transfer of Copyright from me to the client.
This Transfer of Copyright only covers the approved logo design idea, not the previously unused: ideas, sketches, doodles etc; these remain under my ownership.
Majority of my clients are overseas, with a high percentage being from America.
I am quite used to working around different time-zones, and shuffling my work schedules to suit the client where and when needed.
For the most part, any commercial font will need to have a Font Licence purchased in order for you, the Client, to use the font in the logo.
Even some Free Fonts will have limitations on Commercial Personal use, so it’s important to check the Font Licence for any font used. Before I commit to using a Commercial Font for your logo, I will of course get your permission first!
Font licensing is not a black & white situation, so I have written a detailed post on Font Licensing and Font Licenses, which covers the majority of scenarios: An Explanation on Font Licensing & Font Licence Matters for Logo Designers
Absolutely yes. Client NDA’s are quite common, so just send me the paper work, and I’ll scribble my signature on it.
However, I always like to be able to show any finished work in my portfolio, once the project is completely finished.
If the NDA prohibits me from displaying the work I’ve done for a client, for all eternity, then sometimes I’ll politely turn down the project.
My portfolio is my window front and the way I hook in new clients, so if I’m not able to show the world the one thing I’m very good at, then this isn’t good for my own business.
Yes! Most projects require a minimum of a 50% deposit, sometimes that is increased to between 60% – 75% depending on the overall cost and scope of the project.
Most projects over £1000 will also then have a Secondary Deposit, which is typically paid approximately 1 Month in; with the Final Balance due on sign-off, and before Digital Files & Transfer of Copyright etc can be released.
Basically the Secondary Deposit ensures I have a monthly income, and this is essential for any projects that will likely take over 1 month to complete.
Additionally, I will reduce the initial Deposit for any budgets over £3,000 where I’ll typically ask around 35% – 40%.
I’m super flexible on this, so feel free to discuss this with me if you have any particular needs.
Regular Bank Transfer is by far the most common method used by past clients, with WeTransfer coming a close second. I also dabble in Bitcoin Cryptocurrency, so if prices are low then I’m happy to have funds sent to my Bitcoin Wallet.
I’m also open to other payment methods if this helps.
Absolutely not! Assuming you have paid me in full, then you have sole ownership of that logo design. In other words, it’s exclusive to you.
No one else can use that design, unless you give them permission. However, this doesn’t stop some nasty people from stealing it, but that’s another story.
It’s a fair question: all my Client Testimonials are 100% Genuine.
Every single testimonial has been written by the client, and forwarded onto me to use as I see fit.
In some cases, I’ve made very minor edits, such as changing my personal name to Smithographic, or minor spelling corrections etc.
In the case of Damien Hottelier, where English is his 2nd language, I’ve left it completely as he wrote it.
If you go and read it, you’ll notice a particular language style that I didn’t want to alter one bit.
Logo Case Studies is a collection of posts where I have tried to explain the logo design process, and exploration phase, of various logo and brand identity projects.
Some of these Logo Case Studies are very long, detailed and full of grammar whoopsies, but hopefully they get the picture across.
Whilst I prefer it if a client signs a Contract before we start, it’s not always needed, especially if the project is quite small.
I have put together a blog post that includes all the text from my standard contract template, so you can see in advance what it’s all about.
If you have any particular questions or concerns with using a contract, then just let me know.
Client FAQs #2: Brief Overview of my Logo Design Process
A cursory walk-through on what a typical Logo Design Project might entail; not to be taken verbatim, as each project is so unique, and my process often needs to be routinely adjusted.
My Logo Design Process – which many of my previous clients in their Testimonials have commented very positively about–and general way of thinking is that there is often one ultimate solution to be unearthed, rather than a scatter gun approach of 3-5 weak logo design ideas.
Getting to-the-point of developing that ultimate Logo Design idea takes a mixtures of skills, and of course, a fair bit of time and experience, of which I have a fair bit of: over 28 years within the Graphic Design, Commercial Printing and Advertising & Marketing Industry.
Research is the key: A logo and brand identity designer needs to spend adequate time getting to know, and understand, your client and their needs, as well as understanding what direct/indirect competitors the client might have.
If you don’t fully understand the clients’ competition, or even know what their companies logo’s look like, then you are not really designing for the client at all.
Brainstorming unlocks the hidden, and often overlooked, “it’s right in front of you”, logo design solution.
Brainstorming often consists of: mind-maps, sketching in numerous scrappy note books, writing down what ever ideas and thoughts come to mind, furiously messing around on a huge 4000px x 4000px Adobe Illustrator page, and copious quantities of post-it notes.
You can view past and ongoing examples of my brainstorming process at: Case Studies
Where to start?
There are 3 possible starting points for any logo design project, and choosing which one is dependant on the brief, and other client requirements:
1. Often, I’ll start a company logo project by focusing on finding a selection of typefaces before thinking about any kind of logo mark, or symbol.
Why? Some brand names emit a strong emotion, so choosing the right font seems essential to help amplify that emotion, then I’ll work on developing the visual element further down the line.
2. Alternatively, i’ll start the logo project by trying to develop the graphical component (logo mark, symbol, icon, brand mark, etc) of the project by sketching, and the above process of brainstorming.
3. There is a third direction: some logos need a solid and descriptive tag-line, so this will be developed first as this will create a form of narrative, that helps define the brand name.
This narrative also then gives me a framework from which to base the visual part of the logo from.
There is no set process with the above, it just depends on the project, the client, and brief in question, and what ingredients I have to cook with.
There really is not one size fits all approach, as each client and brief is so different.
Client & Designer Collaboration
There are several ways a logo design project unfolds when it comes to how much client collaboration there is during the actual progress of a project.
Some clients like to be part of the brainstorming and overall creative process right from the very start; happy to see really rough logo design sketches, and napkins doodles, as they occur.
Other clients find it hard to interpret these sketches, and struggle to visualise how a rough scribble could look all polished and gleaming.
Therefore, in these situations, a client would generally be happier seeing a more polished logo design idea a bit further down the line.
I’m happy to accommodate both approaches.
I’ll be frank: I’m not always the quickest logo designer; I do like to think things through, ponder, deliberate, try this and try that, etc.
I don’t like to rush any logo project, as ideas have a habit of appearing when you least expect them, and often a small break from a project is when that idea will hit you.
If there isn’t a mad rush, then having time on side is very useful, and very valuable.
I can be quick when it’s needed, and I have done projects that were super urgent in 24 hours, but it’s far from ideal, obviously. Suitable expectations need to be set from the start for rush jobs…
I currently use Dropbox Paper to: upload, and present all my logo design ideas, sketches, digital mock-ups along with appended comments, to each project.
This is a super handy way for both client, and designer, to see progress at a glance, and refer back to other past ideas, comments etc.
It’s super convenient as it works well on Desktop as well as mobile devices, and notifications of update etc are quick and easy to access.
With DropBox Paper, the client can also add notes to the screenshots, create tasks for me, and even download the various images.
It helps keeps everything neatly together, and provides for quick reference at any point in the logo design process.
Client FAQs #3
Logo Design Budgets
This is a really tricky question to answer, as so much depends on what the scope of the initial brief is and the clients’ own specific requirements to what the Company and/or Business Logo Design is being used for: Personal Blog; Hobby Site; Online Store; Charity; Local, Nationwide or Global Business etc.
There’s no one size fits many when it comes to costs for a Logo Design, and I try hard to get the client to suggest an initial budget from which we’ll work to.
For example, most people know how much they can afford to spend on a: new car, holiday, a new house, etc, so much like these, the budget for a logo should ideally be considered in the same light.
Hiring a Logo Designer should not be reluctantly viewed as a hideous cost or expense; instead look at it as an investment that will itself bring positive returns.
If you really are stuck, and have absolutely no idea what a logo should cost (not everyone does, and really have no reason to either), then please do Contact me, and I’ll walk you through the process.
Logo Design Timelines & Schedules
Thought I’d quickly cover this, as it’s a question that’s nearly always asked, but one that’s nearly always impossible to give an accurate reply.
There is no promised deadline guarantee I can/will give a client when it comes to the progress and completion of a logo design project.
However, I always try my best to keep some element of forward momentum going, on the project, for my clients.
Timelines vary due to: specific client needs, challenges, requirements and project scope.
Any kind of ‘implied’ deadline is also dependant on the client in many ways: if said client takes a dislike to a number of my logo ideas, or is not timely with return feedback, then I’m hard pushed to keep that forward momentum going.
A typical logo design project, on average, will take 4-6 weeks.
However, if I find an idea early on, then the project could be completed more quickly than usual, say 1-2 weeks at the earliest; conversely, it can rumble on past 6 weeks, especially if the project is proving challenging in any number of ways.
Logo Design Brief
The first real step for a client, and typically before actually Hiring Me, is to fill out the Logo Design Brief.
I’ll always forward a copy of the brief back to the client, so even if I’m not to be hired, the client has all that information to hand.
Once I have the Project Brief, and have soaked up all the information, I’ll work on a Preliminary Proposal.
This’ll outline the: project scope, budget break-down, deliverables (digital & physical assets), and any other pertinent information.
Once completed I’ll send this back to the client for approval, or changes if needed.
Logo Design Contracts & NDA’s
Assuming the client is happy with the Preliminary Proposal, I’ll often forward on a Contract.
Not all clients require a Contract, so I’m happy to work with or without one.
This will have already been ‘digitally signed’ by myself, and thus only needs the client to accept and sign the Contract themselves.
Sometimes a client will have an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) for me to sign, so I’m always quite happy to do this.